Archive for the ‘Immigration’ Category

Michigan Oil Spill Contractors Convicted on Immigration Crimes Linked to Cleanup Work

Posted on: August 26th, 2013 by Todd Heywood 2 Comments
Unidentified members of a crew of Hallmark Industrial Services employees working on the oil spill in 2010. Photo provided to The American Independent by an anonymous source.

Unidentified members of a crew of Hallmark Industrial Services employees working on the oil spill in 2010. Photo provided to The American Independent by an anonymous source.

Two men indicted for their role in exploiting undocumented workers during a 2010 oil spill cleanup have pleaded guilty to multiple immigration crimes. An investigation by The American Independent’s former sister site Michigan Messenger uncovered the exploitation of undocumented workers – mostly from Central America – during the cleanup following a July oil spill in Marshall, Mich. (more…)

Feds indict oil spill contractors over undocumented workers

Posted on: May 24th, 2012 by Todd Heywood 4 Comments

Photo: Unidentified workers from Hallmark Industrial Services take a lunch break from oil spill clean up work in August of 2010.

LANSING — The federal government has indicted an owner and a manager of a Texas-based company for allegedly conspiring to violate immigration laws. (more…)

How the private detention industry courted Crete

Posted on: May 16th, 2012 by Siddhartha Mahanta 5 Comments

Image: ©iStockphoto.com/CraigRJD

UPDATE: On Monday, June 11, Crete officials voted unanimously to end the town’s negotiations with the Corrections Corporation of America.

The fight over a proposed privately run federal immigration detention center in Illinois is raising thorny questions about the benefits and drawbacks of these facilities. (more…)

Colorado immigrants caught in Catholic culture war

Posted on: April 16th, 2012 by The American Independent 2 Comments

Nicole Mosher, executive director of Durango-based nonprofit immigrant-aid organization Compañeros, is weighing how to keep her organization running effectively in light of the surprising news that the anti-poverty Catholic organization that supplies half of Companeros’ annual budget will likely end that support due to Compañeros’ indirect association with gay-rights group One Colorado. (more…)

Opponents want alternatives to immigrant detention centers

Posted on: March 14th, 2012 by The American Independent 1 Comment

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE, led a tour this week of its new immigrant detention center in Texas. The detention center, which will be managed by Florida-based private prison industry corporation The GEO Group, has raised concerns from immigrant advocates. (more…)

Justice Department Protects Voting Rights for Minorities in Texas

Posted on: March 14th, 2012 by Paul 5 Comments

Ed. note: This piece was written and published in coordination with Ms. Magazine.

On Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder used his powers under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to block enforcement of a prohibitive new voting law in Texas. The law would have required voters to show government-issued identification at the polls.

The Justice Department ruled that Texas’ law would disproportionately deny Hispanics and other marginalized populations the right to vote–a frequent concern about such “strict” voter ID laws.

Texas is among 16 states and counties that are required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act to obtain federal “pre-clearance” of new voting laws that could affect minorities. The law was enacted in the Civil Rights era as a way of protecting the voting rights of African Americans and other marginalized groups.

The blocked Texas law is just one of a number of restrictive voter ID laws enacted by states all over the country in the past year. The laws have raised red flags from voting-rights and civil-rights groups who say they are a barrier to the polls for women, African Americans, Latinos, students, low-income voters, the elderly and people with disabilities.

In the case of women, the millions who change their names after getting married or divorced could face problems updating documentation, because it takes time and money many women, especially low-income women, do not have. According to the Brennan Center, only 66 percent of voting-age women have ready access to proof-of-citizenship documentation with their current legal name.

Before 2011, only two states exclusively required government-issued IDs for voting; the rest accepted various forms of identification, such as student IDs, Social Security cards, utility bills and bank statements. But last year, 34 state legislatures, mostly GOP-led, introduced strict ID laws, and seven states–Alabama, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennesee, Texas and Wisconsinenacted them.

Like Texas, South Carolina is covered by Section 5 and recently saw its new strict ID law struck down by the Justice Department for the same reasons. Yesterday, Wisconsin’s voter ID law was deemed unconstitutional by a state court.

Voter ID laws are just one of the many voting crackdowns passed in mostly GOP-led state legislatures last year. Others include ending Election Day registration and imposing harsh restrictions on third-party voter registration drives.

Voting rights groups, who have expressed hope that the federal government will use its power to protect minority voting access as the 2012 elections unfold, were heartened by the Texas decision.

Meanwhile, Texas has asked a federal court to overturn the Justice Department decision.

In Colorado, questions about secretary of state’s voting claims

Posted on: March 8th, 2012 by The American Independent 3 Comments

“I really have no idea what he is talking about,” Republican Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner told the Colorado Independent. (more…)

Battle rages in Florida over private detention center

Posted on: February 29th, 2012 by Nicolas Mendoza 5 Comments

Protesters demonstrating against the Corrections Corporation of America/Southwest Ranches proposal (Pic by Marcos Restrepo)

Residents opposed to a federally-funded, privately-managed immigration detention center in South Florida issued a statement Wednesday calling on President Obama to step in and halt the project.

A press release issued by No Prison in Southwest Ranches states: “Will the President step in and protect the people in this area from a project that has been kept silent by Corrections Corporation of America, LLC through invite only ‘advisory meetings’ policy of a ‘cone of silence’ by the Town of Southwest Ranches identified through public records requests and implemented by request of [Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and [Corrections Corporation of America]?”

Bill Di Scipio, a resident of Southwest Ranches and an opponent of the detention center, tells The Florida Independent that he and other residents have created a political action committee, Residents Against Inappropriate Development Inc., that “provides us with the legal means to raise money to defeat the hundreds of thousands of dollars that [Corrections Corporation of America] is now spending to make sure this happens.”

He adds that Corrections Corporation of America (also known as CCA) has recently sent out four different mailers and made two robocalls to residents’ homes.

DiScipio tells the Independent that, come time for the August and November 2012 elections, “we will end up supporting candidates in Southwest Ranches and perhaps on our congressional and senatorial level as well,” adding that the primary goal is to defeat the detention center.

The Florida Independent has reported extensively on the opposition to the immigration detention center set to be built in South Florida since Immigration and Customs Enforcement first announced it had chosen the Southwest Ranches/Corrections Corporation of America proposal in June 2011.

The land where the detention center is set to be built is owned by the Corrections Corporation of America, but surrounded by unincorporated Broward county land and the city of Pembroke Pines.

Pembroke Pines officials sent a letter to President Obama earlier this month asking him to intervene, along with a copy of a resolution opposing the detention center.

A CCA detention center facts website details the benefits that residents of Southwest Ranches and Pembroke Pines would receive from the project  - including tax revenue and jobs. According to the site, “Independent studies have shown no correlation between property values and proximity to a detention or corrections facility.”

But Di Scipio says that claim is a lie, citing an FIU/FAU study which “shows a direct correlation of a drop in housing values in the Goodyear, Arizona community situated next to a prison.”

The Florida Carpenters Regional Council recently told the Independent that it is working with CCA to secure the proposed detention center. According to Regional Council spokesman Miguel Fuentes, the project would create hundreds of jobs for local workers. Fuentes told us that he has participated in the robocalls.

The Broward Group of the Sierra Club expressed its opposition to the detention center earlier this month, arguing that it would impact the environment and further degrade what remains of Broward County’s natural areas.

Supporters of the proposal to build the detention center in Southwest Ranches include Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-Fl., and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fl.